Dr. Kamal Gupta, M.D.
Dr. Kamal Gupta, M.D. | Cardiologist | The University of Kansas Health System
What is the biggest challenge facing health care today?
▷We have all these advances in medicine that can cure or treat most diseases, yet a large number of people are unable to afford even the most basic of care. The biggest challenge is to ensure that the neediest amongst us have access to the treatment they need and at an affordable cost. As a physician, it is most frustrating to see patients come to see us at an advanced stage of a disease because of their inability to access health care services.
What is the one piece of medical advice you wish all your patients would follow?
▷Come prepared. Write down your questions. Bring your medications, blood pressure logs and a friend or family member who can listen in and remember things you might forget. Also, feel comfortable, and be honest. Your physician’s office is one of the few places you can let your guard down and speak freely about what ails you and your concerns.
What is the hardest thing about being a physician?
▷Once one has done this for a few years, the technical part (opening blocked arteries, fixing aneurysms) starts to come more easily and becomes second nature. The hardest part, I feel, is to maintain your empathy, your humanity and concern for each patient and his or her family. Over the years, one sees so much misery, agony and death that the daily challenge is to understand that, for each person or family, it may be the first time, and each deserves full empathy and care each day and night. This is, to me, the hardest challenge and yet the highest honor and greatest privilege.
What is the biggest challenge currently facing medicine?
▷How to provide quality care to the most people at the lowest cost. I’d rather have the patients I care for focus on getting well rather than worry about how to pay for their care.
What would you be if you weren’t a doctor?
▷I would be an educator. The best part of my job is that I get to do both. I am a physician and an educator. In fact, to be a physician is to be a teacher. Even those doctors who don’t teach in medical schools are educators, as they are constantly serving that role in their communities
What is the best advice you’ve received concerning your career?
▷I remember Dr. Francis Peabody’s words: “For the secret of care of the patient is in caring for the patient.” Or as another, less politically correct yet very dear mentor said, “Gupta, if you want to be a good physician, then work hard and give a damn.”